Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

Posted on 6 May 2021 Read time 2 mins
Author Tillo

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 has arrived and it’s the perfect chance for organisations to show their commitment to supporting their employees mental health and wellbeing. This past year has been tough, but even as we start to head out (all fingers crossed) of this pandemic, as an employer we recognise that the fallout of what individuals have experienced could continue for a while yet, and we need to do our best to support them.

Prevention is key and are taking steps to embed this into our company culture. Of course being reactive is important, but what if we had the ability to stop it getting to a point of seriously impacting the individual? Wouldn’t that be even better?

The chances are you will have heard the phrase 'mental health is just as important as physical health’ probably as many times as the word ‘unprecedented’ has been used in the last year, and it couldn’t be more true, but at times much harder to spot.

Last year, we suddenly became disconnected from our teams, for many people, kitchens became the new office overnight, blurring the lines of the ‘Work Life balance’ even further, and the general topics of conversation were limited, unless you were a fan of Bridgerton. The general assumption was that everyone was struggling, unsurprisingly as we were in a global pandemic, but that didn’t mean we shouldn’t ask how someone was and genuinely care about the response. Creating an environment where colleagues feel they can voice their feelings without fear of judgement is essential, but building a culture is much easier said than done, it doesn’t form overnight and must be consistently worked on and reviewed.

Having reflected on the what we have learnt from the pandemic, these are the key steps we have taken so far to put a spotlight on Mental Health:

  • Created a team of ‘Mental Health Champions’, consisting of a colleague from each department, including multiple members of Senior Management because in order for this to work, it has to be consistent throughout the whole company.
  • Booked our first Mental Health First Aid course, to ensure our team feels confident that they’ve been equipped with the skills to be great advocates.
  • Built a bank of resources to support our goals, there are so many great resources out there for organisations to use as inspiration for ideas and tools.

Mental Health Awareness Week has come at the perfect time to launch our pledge to supporting our employees mental health, being remote shouldn’t and hasn’t stopped us. Some of the exciting things we have planned, include:

  • Daily coffee & a convo, give people a chance to speak to others across the business who they wouldn’t normally cross paths with and speak about things other than work!
  • Wellness boxes, sending all our employees a little box of goodies to promote self care, and say thank you for all their hard work.
  • Webinars, we have some great speakers lined up - discussing preventing burnout, stress and anxiety.
  • Workshops with all colleagues and managers, looking at how we can spot signs of someone struggling and how to start potentially difficult conversations.

The most important thing to remember, is that supporting Mental Health in the workplace doesn’t end once Awareness Week is over. We know that although we have been extremely lucky throughout the pandemic and have a wonderful team, we can’t get complacent and assume everyone will be okay now lockdown is easing. We aren’t suggesting that our plans will fix the mental health crisis, but it is certainly a step in the right direction to maintaining a positive and valued workforce.

For anyone struggling with their mental health, there are plenty of places ready and waiting to support you. Text SHOUT to 85258 (https://giveusashout.org/) to be connected to a Shout Volunteer who can provide immediate support for all types of mental health challenges, taking people who are struggling to cope to a place of calm every day of the week.

Written by Briony Robertson

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